A funny thing happens around 8 p.m. at Evelyn (171 Ave. C, nr. 11th St.): The place starts crawling with first dates. Maybe it’s the moody amber lighting; maybe it’s all the intimate little nooks. Or maybe it’s the bartender-wingman Zane (“I’ll get you laid,” he confirms). Here, six daters spotted on recent Evelyn rendezvous—plus, one of the bar’s owners—explain the romantic appeal.
“The tunes are funky. There was a song perfect for a salsa demonstration, so I took that opportunity and invited my date to dance a little.” —Harold, 39, on a Match.com date
“It’s quasi-empty on most weeknights, so I can come here with somebody and not bump into anyone I know. There are corners that feel really private, like nobody would see me make out if it led to that!” —Gina, 27, on a Tinder date
“The lighting is perfect: not so dark that you can’t see the person, but dark enough that there’s a hint of mystery. Oh, and people were doing it in the bathroom, so hey.” —Jacob, 33, on an OKCupid date
“We Googled ‘best cocktails in the East Village’ and this place came up. There are a whole lot of drinks and ingredients I’ve never tried, and it’s more fun when you’re on a date to try a new thing with someone. You know, it’s not just Henny and Coke.” —Tia, 29
“Plus, I live just around the corner, so I can take her home after I get her drunk. Just playin’.” —Session, 32, on a date with Tia
“For me, the candles here are a big selling point; I look a lot better the darker it gets.” —Ben, 28, on a date with his girlfriend
“Zane is the ultimate wingman. There was this one date—the guy stood up to go to the bathroom and Zane came over with shots and sat down at the table, so that when the guy came back, he was forced to sit next to his date, instead of across from her. They came in six months later as a couple, so I guess it worked.” —Christian Sanders, 36, bar owner